Let me broaden the question, as I'm thinking about exactly the same thing as
Dave, but I've never used a collet chuck (collets in spindle, yes, chuck
I just bought a 9" SB that has a lever collet closer and a bunch of ratty 3C
collets. It will eventually replace my 13" SB, because when we move aboard
Fintry (www.mvFintry.com) the smaller lathe is a better fit.
My math says I'm better off buying a 5C collet chuck and collets versus 3C
collets because 5C are much cheaper. And, of course, I can sell the 3C
collet closer on eBay. Finally, the lever collet closer makes the lathe
longer and wider (both not big issues, but undesirable) and has limited
For general, non-precision use, am I going to be happy with a collet chuck
or should I stick with the collets in the spindle?
Ok, but *where* on the boat is the metalworking shop?
Enquiring minds want to know!
First off be sure to have a good four jaw chuck for the machine.
This can be configured to hold nearly anything - I take it you
basically want to have some maintenence ability on the ship.
A 9" machine is a tad small for that but it's obviously better
than nothing. If you could find a 10L (sell the 9 and put that
money towards a larger machine) then you can put the 5C collets
right in the spindle.
The 9" spindle obviously will accept a bison collet chuck
add-on but it does take some room along the bed - it
sticks out from the spindle about the length of, say, a
5C collet. The room itself on the bed may not be a terribly
big issue but this tends to reduce the rigidity of the
lathe's spindle, which is designed for smaller work, really.
I don't see too many complaints about this fact from the
folks here who use the bison units, however. Just remember
that it will give you better, cheaper, workholding. It
won't transform your machine into a more powerful lathe.
The 3C lever closer does command a fair bit on ebay IIRC,
but if I were you I would be tempted to keep it with the
machine because you may find a deal on a bigger lathe, and
the 9" will be very tasty if it comes with the lever closer.
Of course you may not want any extra ballast on the ship.
If the 3Cs are badly worn then part them out in a lot.
If you do purchase the bison then get the best collets
you can find, for the same reason, you may want to trade
up to a bigger machine and then you keep the 5Cs.
Consider new hardinge for the most often used collets,
and used ones for the 32s or whatnot.
================================================= please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
Thanks, Jim, for helpful thoughts.
The lathe will go roughly under "ment" in the engine room:
The room is about 20 feet square, but there's a lot of stuff going there, so
space is an issue. As you say, it's mostly for maintenance -- it's amazing
how often you need a small piece of lathe work.
As I said, I own a 13" SB -- the two are now set up side by side in my shop,
so it's easy to compare capability. The big advantage of the 9" over the
13" is that with the same 48" bed length, the 9" is about 10" longer center
to center. I have found mostly that length is more of an issue than swing.
Does anyone know the c/c on a 10L with 48" bed?
I own several four jaws and will take an appropriate one and put it on a new
back for the 9". As you say, that's essential, even if you don't use it
I like this thread, I have a 9" SB with no collets. I have about 50
pounds of 5c collets and about 200 pounds of #22, #11 and #11c collets
to ebay. If i can use the 5c collets on my SB that would be great. I
have been looking at the #11 collets and the collet holder thinking I
might be able to make it fit my SB, that would give me Round, Hex and
square collets of all sizes. But if I could buy a holder/chuck for the
5C collets that would be great. Anyone looking for #22, #11, #11c
collets? I have #22 from 1/16 to 1" in 64th steps
One alternative for non-precision work (>.001)would be the use of the
headstock Jacobs chuck that was sold as a SB accessory. This gives the
full 3/4" through the headstock and the speed of a three jaw chuck. I
use mine all the time.
They are around- here's one that was on ebay:
I didn't know I had such expensive equipment.
They were sold by both SB and Atlas, so there must be plenty in
basements somewhere. You might put in a call to the Daves, and Leigh on
the west coast (shouldn't cost too much to ship) to see if they have any
in stock. You're looking for a Jacobs 58B headstock chuck.
Keep us posted on the progress of that pretty little ship.
Yes. I have Jacobs Headstock Chuck versions for both my Atlas 6" and
Logan 8" lathes. They are considerably better than the usual 3-jaw
chucks for small work, but nowhere near as accurate as collets. Sort of
in-between in accuracy and convenience.
========Jim Woodward wrote:
Spindle collets SHOULD run more nearly true than any common nose mounted
collet chuck. The accuracy of such a collet chuck is limited to the
accuracy of the spindle mount. That said, assuming the spindle is in
good shape, reasonable accuracy, far in excess of a normal chuck, should
be easy to achieve. The key to good performance is to CAREFULLY fit the
collet chuck's backplate to the spindle, with minimal 'slop'. For that
reason, a collet chuck with a fully machinable backplate (both lathe AND
chuck ends) is probably better than a 'universal', which by definition
must fit a variety of similar 'noses'.
I have such a 5C Bison chuck on a Logan 10", with a regular backplate
machined to fit the Logan's spindle thread and register. I routinely get
less than 0.001" runout with no fiddling. A little fiddling and
reseating and a half 'thou' or so isn't too difficult.
Another solution is to get an 'adjust true' or similar and dial it in to
whatever accuracy you need.
One other thing to keep in mind is that the collet chuck has a LOT more
overhang than a spindle collet. You cannot expect the same rigidity for
Sure is handy though, for fast set-ups that still give a far better
centering precision than a three jaw chuck.
========Jim Woodward wrote:
And the Bison 5C collet chuck is available with the "Adjust-Tru"
feature. If I were going to get one (not too likely with my spindle
taking them almost directly (only an adaptor collar from MT-4-1/2 to
5C), I would certainly get one with the Adjust-Tru feature.
Agreed -- and the one with the Adjust-Tru feature is a little
longer than the one without, I believe.
I'm spoiled with the through-the-spindle lever actuator (which
does have to be removed to clear anything between 1" and the spindle's
max of 1-3/8".
Email: < firstname.lastname@example.org> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
Another option to consider is making your own 5C chuck that screws right on
your spindle. Andy Lofquist at Metal Lathe Accessories (MLA) has finished
the prototype for a 5C chuck kit that he will market very soon. It is
intended just for applications like you describe. The usual qualifiers
apply; I'm not affiliated, just a satisfied customer.
Check http://www.sc-c.com/metallathe/ Even though Andy now has email, he
prefers using the phone.
Thanks for the replies. I will keep looking at the Bison's and the Tiawan
equivalents (Eagel?). I've had a couple of people tell me that they are
happy with the Bisons, however I don't know anyone who purchased the Tiawan
chuck. I'll also get hold of the guy at MLA and see what he wants for his
Good luck getting the SB in the ship. I think that the 5C would be a
preferable chuck and collet for your application - the 3C is just too
Does anyone have experience with the 5C Tiawan chucks like listed:
Please let me know.
Good luck getting the SB in the ship. I think that the 5C would be a
preferable chuck and collet for your application - the 3C is just too limited.
One cannot be without a 5C chuck.
My collets are 2J, and I have 3J and 22J as well. My 2J, 3J and 22J chucks are
all Sjogren-Hardinge "Speed Chucks". The best. And, generally affordable, too,
as these sizes are not very popular. 5C Sjogrens aren't very affordable, due to
My 5C setup is a spindle nose piece and a draw tube. Even more precise than a
Sjogren, but probably not as precise as the Hardinge HLV-H's integral spindle
The Eagle chuck of the conventional type looks well made. The "set true"
variation has a lot of corners it in its design. Especially in the support of
Nothing prevents you from converting a non-"set true" Eagle to a "set true"
chuck, on an ad hoc basis, however.
Thanks for the reply.
You mentioned that the Eagle is a good design however the adjust true
version has lot's of corners, especially around the pinion. I don't really
understand what you mean. Is this a "bad" feature or is it just a feature?
Would you get one of these? I bought a Hardinge speed chuck however I feel
that it is just too large for my lathe. I know that Hardinge built a
smaller version of the speed chuck that has about a 7" diameter and this
would work better for my lathe, however they are fairly rare. Consequently,
I've been looking at the Bison or it's clones.
I look forward to your comments.
You mentioned that the Eagle is a good design however the adjust true version
has lot's of corners, especially around the pinion. I don't really understand
what you mean.
On the Eagle conventional 5C chuck (that is, the non-set-true chuck), the chuck
body is split into a front and rear half, much like the old Buck or Cushman
chucks. The pinion is completely contained within one half and is fully
supported. Very strong.
On the set-true chuck, the chuck body is one piece (and is longer, of course)
and the outside of the pinion is located by the chuck body, whereas the inside
of the pinion is located by an interior separator plate. The pinion is,
therefore, cantilevered between the very strong chuck body and the relatively
much less strong interior separator.
That's what I meant by cutting corners.
Is this a "bad" feature or is it just a feature?
Looks like they took the easy way out (one piece chuck body) when they went
back and designed the set-true version.
Would you get one of these?
If I would buy an Eagle, I would buy the non-set-true model, and then convert
it to set-true.
I've done this on a lot of chucks, and I have no doubt that this would yield a
I bought a Hardinge speed chuck however I feel
that it is just too large for my lathe. I know that Hardinge built a smaller
version of the speed chuck that has about a 7" diameter and this
would work better for my lathe, however they are fairly rare.
Yes, 9" and 10" appear to be the most popular.
Of course, 10" is almost a necessity for 2J, 3J and 22J Speed-Chucks.
I've not seen a 7" in the flesh.
Hardinge also made 3C version of this chuck, and these would likely be quite
Consequently, I've been looking at the Bison or it's clones.
The Bison is nice.
A less expensive alternative is the Kalamazoo.
This is really a fixture chuck.
However, it has provisions for attaching a back plate, and it is very well
made. Hardened through and through, too.
I have an early Kalamazoo on a 1-1/2-8 back plate, and that chuck has zero
runout. Which is good, for if it did have runout there would be very little I
could do to correct it as the hardened body won't allow for installing set-true
The Kalamazoo is occasionally shown being chucked in a 3-jaw. That is another
way to use this chuck. This is possible as the Kalamazoo is perfectly
cylindrical from front to back.
All-in-all, I do prefer the Sjogren-Hardinge (AKA, Hardinge-Sjogren and
ATS-Sjogren ... ATS Workholding has been making the Sjogren for about the past
My 10" diameter 2J does look a little strange on my 10 by 20 Logan. ;-)))))
If you have an 8" four-jaw, you can mount even the largest Sjogrens in the
four-jaw, and even obtain the functional equivalent of a set-true function.
But, then you're spinning a LOT of weight on ... usually ... a rather small
Choices ... choices ... choices.
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